Love Storm, Revisited

This morning at 9am, my good friend Mike Pengra will re-air the final broadcast of MPR’s Morning Show on Radio Heartland, recorded 6 years ago today.

Such a kind gesture from a true gentleman!

Since it’s only good manners to bring a gift of some sort to a party, I’ll offer this – a post from the old “Trail Balloon” blog that immediately followed the event itself:

Our final Morning Show broadcast was an immense hug and a truly beautiful thing thanks to the waves of faithful listeners who flowed to and through the Fitzgerald Theater and St. Paul’s Central Presbyterian Church. The size of the crowd went well beyond our expectations (I wagered 1500) and their warmth was off the charts.

As a lifelong radio guy, I am naturally timid at the thought of facing a live audience, but this group was as comfort-inducing as any collection of 2000 souls can be. What’s the opposite of an unruly mob? A ruly mob, I guess. That’s what we had.

All the heartfelt words of praise for our Morning Show were oh so welcome, but after awhile I did begin to feel a bit guilty. Let’s face it, everybody works hard and the stress of day-to-day living takes a toll. Who wouldn’t get a boost from having a gaggle of admiring people asking for your autograph? I confess I enjoyed it tremendously, but I recognize that most people deserve a kind word and a pat on the back for the good things they do every day, and do they get it? You know the answer. Sorry Jim Ed and I hogged the love storm, but what could we do? It blew down the doors.

The Morning Show is done. It was a long-running and sometimes confounding radio gymnastics routine with plenty of twists and flourishes and it looked like we would come crashing down a couple of times, but our spotters were there for us and gravity gave us some lucky breaks, and the dismount was incredible.

When have you finished well?

53 thoughts on “Love Storm, Revisited”

  1. Dale, I was in the Fitzgerald that morning having insisted to my friends that we really did need to get there early. We got balcony seats and we stayed the entire time in spite of a certain host’s entreaties that we go about our business and let someone else sit down. There is no need for modesty about that morning or the hours of work that led up to it!
    The most amazing thing was how many people were there. Listening to TLGMS was a near solitary affair for most of us. Sure we foisted it off on our kids and carpools;tried to explain about “Two Trees in Love” to our workmates;and saw the occasional fellow listener at the Fair or the Halloween Show, but mostly we listened alone and communed with you, Jim Ed, and a cast of characters.Suddenly there were zillions of us mourning together. We came for a bleak wake but you blew US away with live performers, humor, and a sense we weren’t alone.
    I can’t say that I finish well but 6 years ago I was gifted with a tremendous example of how it can be done
    THANK YOU!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. l think l’ve finished battling cancer well. Although there’s very high recurrence rate, l hardly ever think about it. The day the phone call came l decided to make up a story that would protect me from becoming anxious, scared, depressed or victimy. l decided to embrace this challenge as an adventure rather than an ordeal. My curiosity drove the engine and, along the way, resulted in becoming an expert on this particular form of cancer. lt didn’t hurt that l’ve always liked doctors and medical settings!

    l also decided that, whether l lived or died, l owed it to my kids to keep a brave and cheery face on. l couldn’t bear the thought of burdening them when my vulnerability surfaced. l drove myself to chemo and radiation rather than lean on them, for instance. No matter what happened, l never ever identified with cancer, so it hit them a lot harder than it did me. My older son’s coworker was dying of the same cancer at the same time l was going through treatment so he was scared that he’d loose his mom. The only truly painful part of the journey for me was imagining how my kids would feel if l didn’t make it. Now, almost five years out, it feels like none of it ever even happened. The only traces from going through this are a total loss of appetite and a 400-page book chronicling every day of this adventure. l recently read it for the first time and thought, “God – that really was rough!”

    l think l “finished” this life chapter pretty well. l apologize if l’ve already written about this – my memory turned into mush since the very day l
    turned 70!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning. That was a wonderful ending to a show that was one of my all time favorites. My family and I listened to the morning show for many, many years almost every week day morning. Many thanks to you, Dale, for all those years of putting on a show was a great family tradition at our house.

    I’m not good at endings. To celebrate a good thing that is ending and move on is not easy for me. Quietly walking away without any big fuss is usually the best I can do. Before we left Clarks Grove we did invite a good friend from there over for diner and had a good time saying good bye to him.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. i am hoping to finishg something well in a couple of years. i tend to do things that magically transform into a variation of the thing they once were so it never feels finished just modified. thats why i am so surprised when i see all those guys on tv or in the paper or at the cedar cultural center and think about how they are a bunch of old guys and then hve to chuckle because i am in the world making the exact same presentation but it doenst feel that way form in here.
    i am not humming along on all eight cylanders like i once was but a new engine is not in the cards theis week so ill do an oil change and keep on chugging
    its been a quick 6 years going form tlgms to radio heartland to the trail with the baboons and the rest of the world along for the ride all the way. thanks for being ther guys. you are my sunshine by peter is one of my favorites. i used to play it as a lulabye to y kids when they were babies and to have peter pick that one as his sendoff was special.
    thanks mike thanks dale thanks baboons past and present and heres to the next era in the trail and now that we are seriously into the new millenium i am hoping no to be ending anything any time soon. onward and upward.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As I’ve said before, my then-wife and I got there at 4:30am and we were about 12th in line.

    Dale, if you recall, I suggested that you offer free tickets in advance because there would be so many people that would show up. In your infinite modesty, you said that there wouldn’t be that many people. I chuckled to myself, not in an “I-told-you-so” way but in an “he-doesn’t-know-how-popular-he-really-is” way.

    And I would get up early to be at the live Fair shows, so it didn’t seem undue to get up early for this tremendously special event.

    After the show, as I was scooping up loose pages of the script from the front of the stage that were within my reach, someone offered to give me a full copy from backstage. I was hoping to get it signed by you and Jim Ed but that never happened. I figured that you were already mobbed and that I’d catch you guys sometime later.

    After the show, we walked down to the church to see if there were any pancakes left. There weren’t but there were some Morning Show placemats still there, so I took a few of them too. I think I even still have one of the Morning Show User Guides someplace.

    I was always surprised that there was never a Morning Show Secret Decoder Ring or a “Merman Alert Whistle” or some other throwback style premium during membership week.

    The spring after TLGMS ended, I was volunteering for a charity concert for The Lupus Foundation of Minnesota. One of the bands appearing was regularly played on the Show. They hadn’t heard about the Show being finished and they were devastated. “Those guys were one of the only mainstream stations that would play our stuff!” they said. “That’s a huge loss for the local music scene…especially the local folk and folk-crossover musicians that are trying to get off the ground.” I suggested the Radio Heartland option but we agreed that it wasn’t quite the same.

    I’ve also made my opinion known about a favorable return of TLGMS or something similar and my willingness to be involved in something like that, so that’s old news too.

    Anyway, it was a great show and ended with taste, class, style, and fun. Not a bad way to go out.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I have no talent for ending things well. My favorite bad ending is probably the conclusion of my career as a college student. I was thrown out of college the day before I was scheduled to get my diploma. How is that even possible? It amuses me to remember that I–a sweet, cooperative, gentle guy–was told by the dean of men that he wanted me gone “before the sun sets again on this town again.” (I’ve wondered if he got that line from a B grade western.)

    The only thing I’ve ended well was my marriage. She and I are still good friends. Fairly good friends. Well, for divorced folks, we’re great friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a terrible time ending therapy with clients. Saying goodbye has always been hard for me, which I attribute to being an only child and wanting to hold on to relationships forever since I never had siblings to fill in the gap. I remember that I had just learned that I could live stream MPR and rediscovered the Morning Show that fall when Dale announced it was leaving the air. Husband finished his work with the State well, with everyone regretting his absence and no hard feelings at his departure.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When you do any sort of theater work, you get good at endings. Every show eventually finishes its run – some of the “strikes” (taking down the show) are more bittersweet than others. Some shows you wish you could strike about 5 minutes after the curtain goes up the first time…either way, there is great satisfaction to re-painting the floor black after the set is taken down and cleared from the stage. Bringing the stage back to “neutral” is both and end and a promise of a new thing. I think after all those strikes, that philosophy has leaked into my non-theater life – every end is really just taking things to neutral so I am ready for whatever comes next.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I listened from work the first time – and cried with a co-worker. Today I am at home…though will miss the last heartbreaking moments as I am slated to volunteer at Daughter’s school at 11am. Maybe just maybe our kleenex stash will be safe.

      Like

  9. I was there for the last show, too. I walked downtown so as not to have to worry about parking meters. As I recall, it was a relatively warm night/morning and the moon was beautiful. I was early enough to get a seat in the theater, and, like Beth-Ann, I refused to yield it. Had pancakes after the show.

    How lovely to hear all these voices again.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I think I just “liked” every post here – it’s easy to be in an expansive mood while listening to TLGMS again. We were there, but late enough to be over in the church – they didn’t have the connection complete for a while, so while we did have pancakes, I missed some of the show. Nice to be able to hear it, finally, in its entirety.

    Let’s see, what was the question?

    Like

  11. I have been listening and now my HD signal has gone dead. I remember that from when Dale was on Radio Heartland too. Gahhhhhh!

    So I am now chewing through the data plan listening online.

    Any chance Mike is going to be able to run this again tonight? S&h got a big smile when I told him this was broadcasting this morning, I know he would like to hear it if it’s running tonight.

    We went to the show as early as we could, had the pancake breakfast, then dashed to school and work.

    He learned so much listening to some of those crazy, crazy songs (c’mon, what kid reads up on Rutherford B. Hayes?)

    I started listening as a student at Luther, listened again when I went back there years later to teach, and then in the Sesame Street Live costume shop.

    Happy days.

    Finish well? I’d be happy to just have the chance to finish something and take a good look at it.

    My work projects are gone as soon as they are done, my personal projects almost never get worked on, let alone done.

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        1. if that’s the case and it is so easy and affordable, why do you suppose Mike bothered airing it at all?

          Why do we all care so much if we could just play the archives over billable gigabytes?

          New millinium indeed, where everything has a price.

          Like

  12. I went in to work early and listened to the whole show.I was in a solo office then. I love the CD’s but it is not background music. I have to really listen. So I break it up by the 3 CD.s. I think I got the CDs by pledging to RH.
    As for good endings, only one really, and it has never been my fault, ever, ever, ever, ever. Or maybe the opposite.
    I have been thinking I should start a blog about old age and call it “Life on the Off-Ramp.” Sandy and I just had a debate about which one of us can bend over better. (She was wrong, of course, yes, she was, was, was.)

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I am having a ball listening to the rebroadcast this morning. Congratulations to Dale and Jim Ed, RIP, for a job well done, and a job which just keeps on giving.

    I ended my chemotherapy (for breast cancer) well in Dec. 1991, but of course that involved TLGMS! Every chemo day (always a Friday) Lou would request an inspirational song to get me out the door for my date with the IV bag. Dale and Jim Ed would faithfully play the requests. Then on the last day I requested a tune for Lou, “Shoutin’ Liza” –a trombone piece that makes a nod to Lou’s trombone career, something for myself which I do not remember, and the Hallelujah Chorus for the Morning Show which they did not play. However, it was all just right and I appreciated it so very much.

    May 18, 2016 will be my 25th post cancer anniversary at which time I hope to give myself a “Whadya Know She Lived 25 Years Past This Thing” party (should no other life threatening disease or event ruin the plan before that date!). I will invite Dale and ask him again to play some songs, as well as the denizens of the Adventurous Trail Baboon, BBC friends, family and neighbors. I hope to end the 25 years well.

    And again, Dale, Thanks.

    Liked by 7 people

      1. I have been gettin’ ’em ever since that experience–after all, what is there to lose when suddenly one day you have only your life to lose or gain. The realization hits that anyone can have a piano fall on her head anytime. Life is so fragile and yet so vigorous. So now I get ’em every day. There is just nothing else to do about life than that.

        I just now do it all with hot flashes since hot flashes, and a big scar, have been the enduring souvenir of the experience.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. One of the greatest moments of live radio. Certainly the greatest for me. I was there, trying to sing with that incredibly talented audience, but was crying too hard to control my voice.

      Still has me blubbering like a baby six years later.

      The power of radio. Wow.

      Chris in Owatonna

      Liked by 3 people

  14. I’m not good at endings, either. Clumsy, awkward… I try to tell people how much they’ve meant to me, the depth to which the experience has affected my life; I end up embarrassing myself and making people avoid me. I feel things too much and wear it all on my sleeve. It’s not a good recipe for ending things well. Most people just want to end something and move on. I cling to things from the past, sometimes in unhealthy ways.

    So, I’m looking forward. I’m getting ready to end my long career with the State of Minnesota. My retirement won’t be soon but it has entered the planning stages. I’ve gone through enough transitions during my 37-year career that most of the people involved are only memories now. That’s okay. It will make it easier. I hope to leave with dignity and grace and ONLY ONE little tiny tear, which I will keep to myself.

    I was at work on the day of the last LGMS. I sat at my computer, listening online, sobbing, in front of the ten men who’d made my life so dismal and boring, who’d made me feel like I wasn’t worth the mud on their shoes. They didn’t understand why I’d laugh and cry over some little high school kid who never got out of 10th grade or some ridiculous news reporter, or why I’d completely break down during the mass singing of You Are My Sunshine. I felt that day like the sun was leaving the sky. But shortly after that I met many of you. That was the first day I read the Trial Balloon. So, things don’t really end…. they just become something a little different. Life goes on… c’est la vie!

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Hey Baboons! long time no see! I was there 6 years ago today, one of the last twenty in the Fitz as I recall. My mom brought me and it was quite the experience. I remember how energized that crowd was, and how moving the sendoff was! Only Dale and Jim Ed could produce something so fantastic. And now I get o be lectured by a certain news director weekly! Lectured in a fun loving way of course but its a thrill to be working with the guy who I used to listen to every morning on the way to high school ( my bus driver was really cool, he now owns Hymies records on lake street!) So thanks Dale and Jim Ed for all you do and may a show like it come back very soon!

    Liked by 4 people

  16. My son is driving from Grants Pass OR to LA today, through high winds and heavy rains in the mountains and now through the flooded Sacramento Valley. Hope it ends well.

    Like

      1. In the mountains creeks were crossing the freeway. Cops and volunteers were out slowing cars down, some places one lane. A couple semis blown off the freeway”

        Like

  17. Got there at 6:00am or so and had to go to the church overflow. The pictures show a video feed but I don’t remember that. I must have had to leave 8:00ish for work so maybe it started working after that (though I thought I stayed ’til the end). I did snag some pancakes and saw Peter Mayer down there enjoying some, too.
    It was such a memorable day at the end of a super-memorable run.

    Like

  18. Our church’s beloved associate minister left about 3 years ago. Previous ministers had left under less-than-positive conditions (affair, off-wagon-falling and being asked to leave by the board). So the leaving of the beloved minister was called the “Good Good-Bye” and it was.
    It was no less sad but it was well done.

    Like

  19. How can you tell? Hans and I alternate taking a 64 year old friend afflicted with FTD out for weekly excursions. We have no idea how much he registers or retains; probably little to nothing. But he seems to enjoy the moment, and we know it provides his wife with a much needed respite from the 24/7 care she provides for him. And it makes us think of creative things to do with him. Yesterday I took him to The Science Museum. I especially wanted him to see the Monarch butterfly exhibit and film. At the end of the film I asked him if he like it. His response was “I don’t remember.”

    It really makes you think. We don’t know from one week to the next what shape he’ll be in. Sometime the decline from one week to the next is alarming; sometimes it holds steady for a couple of weeks. At this point, I take nothing for granted, next week may be the end. You never know. How do you know if you have finished well?

    Like

    1. The dignity that we seek in dying must be found in the dignity with which we have lived our lives. Ars moriendi as ars vivendi: The art of dying is the art of living. The honesty and grace of the years of life that are ending is the real measure of how we die. It is not in the last weeks or days that we compose the message that will be remembered, but in all the decades that preceded them. Who has lived in dignity, dies in dignity.
      – Sherwin B. Nuland

      Liked by 4 people

    2. i have started feeling that way about food. i eat it then savor the taste because as soon as i wash it down with a little tea, i dont remember the taste anymore. on to the next.

      Like

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